Realtor Dale Warfel

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Almaden valley real estate

Located in the rolling foothills in the southernmost valley of the San Jose metro area, Almaden Valley is an upscale, executive community featuring numerous parks, open space and a rural atmosphere. It is a family-oriented community with excellent schools, plenty of recreational opportunities and magnificent views. The Almaden Valley community is located southwest of Blossom Valley, separated by the Los Capitancillos Ridge. Running along the ridge is Almaden Quicksilver County Park, one of the jewels of the Santa Clara County Park system. In terms of size, historical significance, and natural beauty, it rivals any state park. At the base of the ridge is Almaden Lake Park, San Jose's only park featuring a sand beach and swim area for fishing, boating, hiking, wind surfing, picnicking and playing volleyball or horseshoes. The park is also the site of the annual San Jose International Triathlon. Connected to the park is the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, a 3.9-mile trail featuring a fitness course. To the southeast is the historic mining town of New Almaden. To the southwest is the soaring forested wall of the Sierra Azuls, topped by Mt. Umunhum. The upscale community of some 40,000 residents is also home to Almaden Country Club, a private golf club that has hosted numerous tournaments. The Almaden real estate market features a mix of contemporary homes and executive properties.

Almaden Valley (often just called Almaden) is a neighborhood of about 37,000 in the south of San Jose, California, USA. The neighborhood is south east of Los Gatos, west of Santa Teresa, and south of Coleman Ave. It is named after the New Almaden Mines, which are themselves named after the mercury mine in Almadén, Spain. The major streets in the area are Almaden Expressway, Blossom Hill Road to the north, Meridian Avenue, Camden Avenue, and Highway 85 to the north (Running from 101 in Mountain View to 101 in SE San Jose). The Almaden valley is located between a small series of hills and the Santa Cruz Mountains, with Mount Umunhum dominating the local geography.

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Willow Glen - Restaurants

One of the most charming neighborhoods in San Jose, California is Willow Glen. It is a quiet place to live in and it has all the necessary civic amenities and facilities required for anyone who is considering to move in here.

The main street here is the Lincoln Avenue and all of its streets are lined with trees. You can see family homes built in the Victorian and Spanish-style here.

Some of the finest restaurants have opened their doors in Willow Glen. Here’s a look at some of them:

Café Adriatic – This fine Italian restaurant brings you some of the top dishes served in Eastern and Western Europe. So, if you are in a mood for food such as pastas, seafood and meat, this is the best place to go.

Cafe Primavera – This is yet another Italian restaurant that serves seafood and pasta.

Fratello's – This restaurant serves some exquisite Italian wine and cuisine and the prices here are quite reasonable.

Siena Mediterranean Bistro – This Mediterranean style restaurant offers food that is quite simple, yet very appealing. You can have your fill of grilled meats, risottos, seafood, and bright and light appetizers. Its desserts are simply a treat.

Taqueria Tlaquepaque – This Mexican restaurant has some of the best Mexican food and each dish is made out to be something special.

Giorgio's Italian Food and Pizzeria – This pizza outlet serves simple Italian pizza at very affordable prices. The portions served are very generous too.

Kazoo Sushi Boat – If you are in a mood for some authentic Japanese food, the Sushi Boat is the place to go. It offers mouth watering Japanese dishes.

In Willow Glen, you can find restaurants serving different type of cuisines from different parts of the world and this reflects the international flavor and taste that people in this area seem to like and enjoy.

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Tips for selling - How to talk to your Realtor?

When you decide to sell your home, one of the best things you can do is to take the services of a realtor. However, you need to ask the right questions so that you choose someone who has the expertise you require. Here some tips on what to ask a realtor:

Realtors have a basic license to function. However, there are additional certifications such as CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist, CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) and ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative) that the realtor can obtain. Ask your realtor about his/her certifications, so that you know you are talking to someone who is really interested in moving forward in his/her profession.

Ask for their years of experience and about the tools they would use to sell your property. Would they be using the internet or a network of professional realtors like themselves to find a good deal for you? Another useful question here would be if the realtor is working full time or is this just a part time job? This way you will know how much of time and attention the realtor can give you.

Asking for recommendation letters is very useful and a realtor who obliges is obviously one who is good at finding the best deal and making his clients happy.

You need to find out how long the realtor will take to sell a home. Find out about the type of home they specialize in selling. Ask them about their ratings on closing deals on homes. This is a good way to find out about how they are performing.

Find out if your realtor is from a reputable agency and a member of the State and National Realtor Association. You can be confident with such a person, so find out these details as you speak to the realtor.

Ask them about their commission rates and don’t leave out asking if they will refund a part of their commission if you also purchase a home with them. This can be very useful for you if you are planning to combine your home sale with a purchase.

When you ask the questions listed above you will find out what kind of expertise and experience the realtor you are talking to has and about their background. This will help you to make a decision of whether to hire the realtor or not. Choosing the right realtor makes a lot of difference at the time of sale, because you can lose a lot of money otherwise if you do not get the right deal.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Branham High School in Willow Glen is home to global educators

Branham has a diverse staff and faculty from a variety of backgrounds, with rich experiences to share with students and the Branham community. Several teachers have lived and worked overseas, hailing from Honduras, India, South Africa, Spain and the Ukraine.

This year several staff members were involved in international exchanges to gain personal insight into educational systems in other countries and to further enrich the educational environment at Branham. U.S. history teacher Matt Zehner spent three weeks in South Korea as a participant in the 2007 Summer Fellowship in Korean Studies. Principal Tom Utic visited and worked with educators in several schools in Mendoza, Argentina this summer as a part of the Fulbright Administrator Exchange program.

English teachers Rachelle Burnside of Branham and Claire Harris of Cardinal Wiseman High School near London, England switch places for the current school year as participants in the Fulbright U.S./U.K. Teacher Exchange program. Each of these educators was selected as a participant in an exchange program for his or her strong professional background and eagerness to share their expertise and learn from others. Their experiences will help enrich schools in both their home and host countries.

The Fulbright Teacher Exchange was established in 1924 to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen relations between the United States and the wider world.

There are great benefits for both schools and teachers involved. The teachers will be exposed to different teaching methodologies and approaches and have the opportunity to enrich their own teaching while living in a new environment. There is enormous potential for broadening pupils' perspectives on the wider world by developing links at class or whole school level.

Educational exchanges have proven to be enriching experiences for the participants and the organizations they work with. Branham High School is fortunate to have staff members bringing their insights from three different continents with vastly different cultures here to San Jose. Each of these educators are eager to share their personal experiences with students and community members and make play their small part in creating links between countries.


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Some tips to sell a home fast

A few basic elements can make the difference between a quick home sale and a frustrating ordeal. Be smart to do some work up front to make sure your house sells fast. That's particularly important these days as some of the hottest real-estate markets show signs of cooling and homes start to linger on the market longer than their sellers expected.

Here are some tips:
Finish the "honey do" list.
Just about every homeowner has a string of little repairs that never quite get done. Now's the time. Fix the screens, oil that squeak, patch the cracks, paint the trim.

Get inspected.
A pre-sale inspection can help in two ways. Professional inspections can identify problems that could thwart a sale in time to fix them. And if there are no major problems, he said, an inspection can publicize that fact to skittish buyers.
Pack up the clutter.

Too much stuff makes rooms look smaller and focuses buyers' attention on your possessions rather than the home you're trying to sell. That's why many professional stagers recommend removing as much as a third of your things to better show off rooms and closets. Since you're going to have to pack it up anyway, do it now. Buyers "can't imagine themselves living there if they can't see the space."
Depersonalize and neutralize.

The first items that should go in those packing boxes: family photos, collections and just about anything else that says "you”. Buyers have a hard enough time envisioning how their stuff will look on your walls. By neutralizing your decor, you can help give them the blank canvas they need to imagine your house as theirs.

Clean like a fiend. Clean your faucets and fixtures, scour fingerprints from all the switch plates, shine windows until they're spotless and vacuum up every last dog hair from the baseboards. Stage the rooms. Stand in the doorway to find each room's focal point, and use furniture placement to highlight that. The back of your sofa shouldn't block the view of the fireplace, for example, and the dining room table shouldn't be sharing space with a stair climber.
Kick up the curb appeal. Most people will start their search for a home on the Internet. If your house's Internet photo doesn't 'wow!' them, they might never call for a showing. That's why your front landscaping needs to be in perfect condition. Clean up the leaves, plant some fall flowers, trim the bushes and trees, and really manicure your lawn.

Pick the right publicist. If you're working with an agent, you'll want one who can really sell. That means somebody who knows your neighborhood intimately and who's enthusiastic about your home.
If you're going to try to sell your home yourself, make sure you're up for the job. Hawking a home, especially in a slowing market, can be hard work.
Set the right price. In frenzied markets, sellers who put outrageous price tags on their homes sometimes are rewarded. As markets cool, however, a too-high asking price can lead to a home being shunned by agents and buyers. Your goal should be a fair price -- something that's reasonable given the price of other homes in your area.
"Buyers who are actively searching for a fairly-priced home, will pounce on what they perceive is fair value."

Adatped from:

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Housing inventory up in Santa Clara County

The number of homes for sale rose more steeply last month in Santa Clara County than in any other of 13 counties included in a monthly report from a local realty brokerage.

The inventory of for-sale homes rose 9 percent in the county from July 31 to Aug. 31, to 6,412 houses and condos, according to a monthly report prepared by Redwood City-based Movoto. The second-highest increase was 5.3 percent in San Diego County, followed by a 4.1 percent uptick in San Francisco.

Movoto's report covered inventory levels and other measures of the real estate market's health in the 13 counties in which the brokerage operates in Northern and Southern California. The data come from the multiple listing services that serve those counties. Inventories were up everywhere except in Alameda, San Mateo, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, most of which saw only slight declines.

In Santa Clara County, inventory is rising in part because more buyers are hesitating, said Warren Winsness, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.

Movoto founder and broker Henry Shao said listings in San Jose are driving the county's overall inventory trajectory. Listings in San Jose are about double their level from three years ago, he said, while listings in Palo Alto and Saratoga, for example, are well below where they were in summer 2004.

Meanwhile, the average list price of homes for sale in Santa Clara County as of Aug. 31 fell 2.5 percent from a month earlier, to $857,048, Movoto said. Average list prices fell most in Contra Costa County, dropping 4 percent, and rose most in San Mateo County, up 2 percent.

List prices are the prices sellers hope to get for their homes. About one-third of Santa Clara County sellers in August got more than their list price when they sold their homes, according to data from San Jose broker Richard Calhoun of Creekside Realty.

Movoto's report also features an estimate of what percentage of homes for sale in each county are "distressed," as measured by whether terms such as "bank owned," "short sale" or "in foreclosure" are included in the comments entered by listing agents in the multiple listing service.

In Santa Clara County, those properties made up 11 percent of listings, up from 9 percent at the end of July. San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties had rates of about 10 percent, also up from 9 percent. Contra Costa and San Benito counties had the worst incidence of distressed properties, with 22.1 percent and 20.3 percent falling into the category, respectively.


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Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Almaden cycle touring club

The Almaden Cycle Touring Club (ACTC) is a group of about 1000 bicycle enthusiasts based in the south San Francisco Bay area. Emphasis is on group fun and safety, with a variety of bicycling related events for a wide range of ability levels. Guests are welcome on club rides.
Club meetings are the first Tuesday of the month, at 7:00pm, at the First Congregational Church in San Jose. (Corner of Hamilton and Leigh Aves.) The business meeting lasts one hour, followed by a bicycle related speaker/event.

The monthly ride schedule includes all of the club-sponsored rides for the month. There are an average of 150 club rides held each month, which attract an average of 10 riders each. These rides are led by a club member, and cover all levels of difficulty. There are rides suitable for everyone, from the beginning bike rider to the advanced cyclist.
An Awards Party is held each year to recognize all of the club riders. Awards are given to riders with over 1000 club miles, and for Billy Goats, Grizzly Bears, and Mountain Goats.Billy Goats are a group of major hills around the south bay area. Credit is given for each Billy Goat climbed during a club ride, and special recognition is given to those riders who are able to complete a certain number of different Billy Goats. Riders who do 10 or more different Billy Goats will earn a Billy Goat patch.Grizzly Bears are a selection of special places, special days, or special rides. Grizzly Bears are generally flatter rides, and must not include a Billy Goat. Credit is given for only one Grizzly Bear done during a club ride, so when there are multiple possibilities for a ride you have to choose which one you want the ride to earn. Riders who do 10 or more different Grizzlies will earn a Grizzly Bear patch.Mountain Goats are a group of dirt roads and trails. Credit is given for each Mountain Goat done on a club ride. Riders who do 10 or more will earn a Mountain Goat patch.

The ACTC Academy is a series of on-bike sessions in order for beginning cyclists to improve their riding skills.

Yearly dues for the ACTC are $20 for an individual membership and $25 for a family. Print and mail the ACTC Membership Form or contact the membership chair for more information.

Make riches in real estate investment

Apply the following five principles to your real estate investment, and you might start seeing an increase in your real estate income.

The money is made in the purchase:
Real estate investing is like value investing in stocks and you want to purchase the real estate during a period of a real estate slump. The reason for this is so that you can get a huge capital appreciation when the real estate market heats up again.

Monitor Cash Flow: Real Estate investments typically have a monthly rental income, which then is used to pay for mortgage installments and other problems with the building like a roof leak. You would thus have to keep a close watch on interest rate hikes since they can potentially erode any calculated return on investment quite quickly. Once you have enough cash coming in, it is suggested that you then keep some of it in a rainy day fund in case some of the rental tenants do not renew their property, and then take the rest and consider investing in another real estate investment property.

Leverage on other people’s time: By focusing on what you do best and getting other people to do the rest of the work, you are leveraging on their time and you can then make more money from each new real estate investment that you undertake. Spend your time to build your team of advisors and employees who work for you and you will see your profits start going up.

Use leverage with a good rainy day cash balance: You want to leverage as much as you can so that you can control property worth many times more than what you own. Remember however to keep a rainy day fund containing a portion of the rental payments so that you can hedge yourself against a possible period where unit occupancy of your real estate investment is low. Leverage when used well can make you lots of money but if managed badly, will bankrupt you. Thus planning your cash flow and learning how to use debt is critical before you start serious real estate investment.

Spend time networking with real estate professionals: The best way to learn the latest
real estate investment deals is to make friends with the local real estate professional group. They can tell you about recent developments and changes in rental, property and infrastructure of their geographical location.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ways of Real Estate marketing

The days of an advertising campaign driven by print media are over. Print media as one component of an effective marketing campaign is a better strategy. Why? For the home buyer, printed media presents a flat, one-dimensional experience: an ad with abbreviated terms and maybe one property photo. For the real estate professional, the newspaper is a one-shot deal. You pay once and get a one-time exposure. Conversely, the Internet provides a far richer experience for home seekers. They receive virtually unlimited property information, many photos, and maybe even a virtual tour — which is like an open house right from their desktop. For the real estate professional, the Internet provides a blank canvas on which to market the property for the life of the listing at a very affordable price. Internet listings are viewed nationally. They're not limited by regional boundaries, as print typically is. So, it boils down to exposure, depth of information, and value. That's why print media effectiveness is waning and being steamrolled by the Internet. However, it is best to follow a mixed approach rather than putting all of your advertising eggs in one basket.

You must first define your goals: Listing exposure? Lead generation? Company branding? Agent promotion? And then assess the return delivered by your various options. Also look at TV and radio. Then, pick a plan that fits your budget. Not all online media provide the same results. Do your research to find the best fit for you.


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Why do a Real estate Seminar?

Finding new clients is one of the most critical, yet challenging, aspects of the real estate business. One successful way to do this: Hold a seminar. ”It positions you as an expert and increases your credibility,” says Dan Forbes, CRS®, GRI, broker-owner of Premier Team Inc. in Bradenton, Fla. Real estate investment seminars are the most popular, but you can choose pretty much any topic that would appeal to your targeted customer base. Then, you need equal doses of creativity and business finesse to locate a venue, publicize the event, and pull together a compelling program that leaves a lasting impression on attendees. First impressions are invaluable. Your initial contact with potential clients is a chance to make a personal connection and establish your credibility. But you can’t do that very easily with a postcard or newspaper ad. A seminar is usually an in-person event that brings together a room of prospects and lets you showcase your expertise — whether you specialize in waterfront condos or pet-friendly homes. Lorayne Morris, a broker in Calif., says she’s been holding seminars since 2003 for first-time home buyers. The seminars are designed to relieve the apprehension renters may feel as they get ready to jump into the marketplace for the first time. Morris uses a pressure-free setting to educate attendees on every step of the buying process, start to finish. The result? She generates 25 to 30 percent of her business directly from the seminars, which on average draw 15 to 20 people. Some clients are recommended to her from friends and relatives who attended the seminars, she says.If you’re looking to build a business relationship with the community, holding a seminar is worth it!

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Buyers and Sellers Demand More Services

Real estate brokerages say title insurance, home warranties, mortgages, and appraisals no longer fall into the category of ancillary services, as consumers' desire for one-stop shopping have prompted them to offer these as core services. "Fifteen years ago, the consumer's expectation was, 'Hey, sell my house.' Now the expectation is: 'Sell my house, get me a good loan, figure out how to get it closed with the title company, get it all done for me — I'm busy,'" says David Sobel, a Home Warranty of America sales executive. With the mortgage industry slammed by the subprime meltdown, real estate brokers increasingly are turning to concierge services — which involve contractor referrals and assistance in turning on utilities, among other tasks — to make money. Howard Hanna III, chairman and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate, says his firm has bundled a variety of services for four decades, making the home sale and purchase processes more efficient, helping clients achieve cost savings, and bolstering the firm's reputation. While Hanna operates all core services internally, some companies opt to forge strategic partnerships with other firms for this purpose. In any respect, brokers must ensure that they comply with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act; and seminars and brochures regarding adherence to the law are now offered by the National Association of Realtors' Real Estate Services Program.


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Flips Blamed for California's Housing Decline

California's Inland Empire region is suffering from one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The culprit? House flippers, those who purchased properties to resell them for a fast profit. Instead, however, these housing flips are increasingly heading into default. The toll the trend is taking on the area is visually apparent. Many homes now sit vacant and neglected, as their bargain-basement sale prices drag down the value of neighboring properties — many of them still occupied by their owners. And even for those foreclosed properties that do get new residents, if only temporarily, the lack of care and maintenance often is clear. Home owners who purchased their dream properties in developments such as Towne Square in Corona, Calif., are finding themselves "upside down" on their mortgages — meaning they owe more than they could fetch from a sale — as a result of declining property values. Therefore, uprooting and relocating to a better community is out of the question for many. Real estate professionals, however, say California's pattern of high population growth will help the state bounce back from its current woes. "Everything goes in cycles," insists practitioner Patricia Patton. "I think we'll be okay if people don't panic."


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